Second instalment of Sixth Assessment Report maps out repercussions for humans & nature of climate trends exposed by last summer’s landmark UN study
Yesterday, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – one of the world’s most influential and respected scientific bodies – published the condensed ‘summary for policymakers’ edition of part two of its three-pronged Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).
“The conclusions of the report are not unexpected, yet they are sobering,” said Alison Rowe, Managing Director of the Nature Conservancy Australia (TNC). They are of particular resonance in Australia, as communities are currently battling the dramatic impact of floods in Queensland and Northern New South Wales, while other parts of the country face drought and heatwaves.
The AR6 Working Group II (WGII) report collates findings from hundreds of scientists across 195 countries to reframe climate megatrends in terms of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability of ecosystems, human society, cities, settlements, services, infrastructure, and industries.
Designed to inform policymakers, nations, businesses, and communities with the most credible science currently available on how human-driven climate change is already reshaping life on Earth as generations have known it, WGII makes clear the connection between achieving progress against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and supporting adaptation at a local community level. It also highlights the importance of social justice and Indigenous knowledge in shaping our response to this existential threat.
Professor Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, said that IPCC reports rarely make for comfortable reading, and that this latest one is the hardest-hitting yet.
“Loss of biodiversity, stresses on agricultural productivity, human health risks – the themes highlighted by WGII are not new. What is emerging is the indisputable evidence for how climate change is acting to compound and conjoin these challenges at a rate humankind is currently struggling to keep pace with, and how these impacts often hit the most vulnerable first,” said Ms Hayhoe.
“One critical point the report makes is that now is not the time to abandon hope. Our actions matter. From how we produce our food and plan our cities, to how we protect our most valuable ecosystems and work to secure the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities – the IPCC makes clear there is potential to adapt our economies and societies and make them more resilient to these emerging threats,” said Alison Rowe.
“We need to cut down our emissions, and we need to put nature and natural climate solutions at the centre of our efforts. Today matters, the choices we make matter. With our livelihoods, our communities in mind, let’s choose nature.”
If you would like to know more about our conservation work, please visit: The Nature Conservancy Australia (natureaustralia.org.au)
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in more than 70 countries and territories around the world on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, follow us on Facebook.